ILANZ, In-House Lawyers Association of New Zealand


Senior Legal Counsel /Legal Counsel, Corporate - New Zealand Customs Service - Wellington

Preferred location for this position is Wellington, however we will consider other locations such as Auckland or Christchurch.


We are looking for an experienced Legal Counsel or Senior Legal Counsel to join the Customs Corporate Legal team. Preferably, this role will be based in our Wellington Customhouse, however we will consider other locations such as Auckland and Christchurch.


Reporting to the Chief Legal Counsel, Corporate, you will work across many exciting legal areas, including law enforcement, COVID-19 response, national security, drugs and other prohibited goods, and tax/revenue collection. The Customs Legal team provides legal advice on policy and legislative development in the border sector, OIA and privacy law, information sharing, international arrangements with a focus on trade and travel, litigation and a wide range of operational issues arising under the Customs and Excise Act 2018 and other Acts, we enforce at the border.


Working as part of a supportive and engaged legal team that is committed to encouraging career development, you will work to achieve excellent results and enjoy using your initiative, judgement and experience. You will provide expert advice on a wide range of legal matters affecting Customs and ensure the delivery of high quality advice and professional service. You will enjoy engaging with the business to deliver results and, where appropriate, mentor less experienced, colleagues to support their development in role.


To be successful as a Legal Counsel you will:

  • have excellent legal research, statutory interpretation, and advice writing skills;
  • build strong relationships to work in partnership with officers, managers, other government departments, and external partners;
  • currently hold or eligible to hold a New Zealand practicing certificate; and
  • have, one or more years post qualification experience and a genuine interest in Customs law and revenue legislation.


To be successful as a Senior Legal Counsel you will:

  • Be a qualified lawyer with at least 5 years' relevant post qualification experience;
  • Have experience working in a government or relevant commercial environment, preferably with providing quick turnaround robust and practical legal advice to an operational team;
  • Lead the provision of high quality legal advice;
  • Achieve results both within a team and independently, showing a high level of initiative and judgement, flexibility and a sense of responsibility;
  • Communicate with influence.


Apply now!


To join Customs in any role you must be a New Zealand citizen or NZ permanent resident*.

(*) A New Zealand Citizen or New Zealand Permanent Resident who has resided continuously in New Zealand for the last 5 years and resides in NZ at time of application;

OR a New Zealand Citizen or New Zealand Permanent Resident who has resided in New Zealand for the last 5 years and resides in NZ at time of application, but may have been absent from New Zealand for periods of six or more months within the past five years, preferably in one or more of the following countries: either Australia, Canada, UK or the USA. You will be required to provide overseas police certificates for these periods spent outside of New Zealand.

Applicants must have New Zealand Citizenship or have NZ Permanent Residency and be able to obtain and maintain an organisational security clearance. The successful applicant will also be required to pass an initial drug test. For further information about this role, please contact Suzanne Leahy at [email protected]

New Zealand Customs Service | Te Mana Ārai o Aotearoa is a member of Diversity Works New Zealand and is committed to developing a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace. We provide equal employment opportunities, consider flexible working arrangements and welcome applications from everyone who can meet the requirements of the role.


Please visit our website to apply on line submitting a CV and Cover Letter that demonstrates your ability to meet the competencies required for the role as outlined in the position description along with what attracts you to this position and working within the New Zealand Customs Service.


Applications close at 11pm, 23 June 2021.

Our Benefits

  • Discounted health insurance for permanent staff
  • Learning and development opportunities
  • Free in-house gym access (Wellington)
  • Flexible working arrangements.